2. Amendment to the United States Constitution

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The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ( English Second Amendment to the United States Constitution ) prohibits as part of the Bill of Rights of the federal government , the right to possession and carrying of weapons limit. It was adopted with the other first nine amendments on December 15, 1791. The exact extent of this ban is one of the most controversial questions in legal and political discourse in the United States .


Original of the second additional article

The original text of the article, unchanged since it was passed by Congress, reads:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

"Since a well-ordered militia is necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to own and carry weapons must not be impaired."

The member states and Home Secretary Thomas Jefferson, however, have ratified a version in which capitalization and the first and last commas are missing. The given translation corresponds more closely to this version.

The 2nd amendment to the constitution is listed in the law passed by the US Congress as the fourth article (“Article the fourth”).


James Madison , who is considered the father of the American constitution with George Mason , drafted the text of the Bill of Rights, which was presented on June 8, 1789 during the first meeting of Congress. It contained the following passage:

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person. ”

“The right of the people to own and bear arms must not be impaired; A well-armed and well-ordered militia represents the best security of a free country, but no one who is against armed violence out of religious convictions should be forced to do military service in person. "

After discussions and changes by the House of Representatives, the draft was submitted to the Senate on August 25th. The version entered in the journal of the Senate read:

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person. "

“Since a well-ordered militia, formed by the people themselves, is the best safeguard of a free state, the right of the people to own and carry weapons must not be impaired, but no one who is religiously against armed violence must be coerced to do military service in person. "

The Senate rejected a proposal to add “for the common defense” next to “bear arms”. The wording has also been changed. The version handed over to the House of Representatives on September 9th corresponded - with the exception of the missing “necessary to” - to the text that was finally adopted:

"A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Influence of the English Bill of Rights of 1689

It is assumed that already in English law the possession and carrying of weapons were regarded as a long-established natural law . The Bill of Rights was created in 1689 after a violent conflict between the English King James II and parliament , which essentially centered on the question of whether the monarch could rule by divine law alone and was thus above the law, or whether he too is an official subject to the law.

In England the situation arose in 1685 that a Catholic became King of England and head of the Anglican Church while the people were predominantly Protestant. The Bill of Rights guaranteed that Protestant citizens could not be disarmed by the king without Parliament's approval. The historic link between the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment was recognized by the United States Supreme Court in 1876 . In 2008, the District of Columbia Supreme Court found v. Heller states that English law was already an individual right that was independent of service in a militia. What he and the second additional article have in common is that both norms legally anchored a natural law and did not introduce a new law.

Influence of the constitutions of the individual states

The minuteman John Parker from Lexington
  • For example, Virginia's Article 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights of June 12, 1776 states:

“That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and be governed by, the civil power. "

“An organized militia, consisting of the population, trained in weapons is the correct, natural and safe defense of a free state. A standing army should be avoided in peacetime because it poses a threat to freedom. In any case, a standing army should be under strict control and guidance by the civilian government. "

  • The Pennsylvania Constitution of September 28, 1776 states in Article 13:

“That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. "

“That citizens have the right to bear arms in order to protect themselves and the state. That a standing army in peacetime poses a threat to freedom and that the military must be under strict control and guidance from the civilian government. "

  • Similar articles can be found in the constitutions of Maryland of November 11, 1776 (Paragraph 25-27) in the North Carolina constitution of December 18, 1776 (Paragraph 17) or of New York of April 20, 1777

Such rights had certainly been created against the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War, when volunteer militias fought the permanent army of the British Crown that later laid the foundation for the Continental Army . The authors of such articles wanted to prevent a standing army of tyrants from being used for their ends. The goal was a well-fortified population that organized itself democratically in the form of militias. The Minutemen were parts of such militias that were ready to fight within minutes of an order being issued. These were younger citizens who had a regular job, often as a farmer, and kept their weapons at home.

After the end of the War of Independence and the signing of the Peace of Paris in 1783, the state navy and marine infantry was disbanded. The Continental Army was also to be disbanded, leaving only small remnants to monitor and protect federal territories. It was only after World War II that the great standing army of the United States developed.

Additional laws

On May 2 and 8, 1792 , federal laws were passed by Congress regulating the militia system of the United States. According to these laws, all male, white, gun-compatible citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 of a state were obliged to participate in the state militia. There were exceptions for certain professional groups. The states were obliged to take care of the formation and organization of these troops . It had to be practiced four times a year. The law was revised in 1862 ; A militia officer was any male citizen who was capable of carrying arms, regardless of race, between the ages of 18 and 54. This was done in view of the raging American Civil War . The laws were replaced by a new federal law in 1903 . In principle, national guards were created in all federal states, which abolished the state militia system. In most states the militiaman had to provide his own armament. He had to have a musket with a bayonet and material for 24 rounds at his own expense .

Legal debate

Various properties of the Second Amendment are controversial. There is bitter social and legal debate in the United States about whether or not gun ownership can be restricted. The following presentation presents the various constitutional viewpoints on some controversial aspects of the Second Amendment .

Since the Second Amendment is a very old text, the point of view with which lawyers and ultimately the courts approach the issue is of great importance. Originalists argue that a law can only be interpreted in its historical context, and one therefore has to research either the intent with which a law was passed or how the law was understood at the time. Conversely, supporters of a living constitution claim that laws are timeless and not tied to a specific social context. One can (and must) reinterpret laws for every current issue in order to take social and political developments into account.

A well regulated militia ...

In the words A well regulated militia, being necessary for ... one can see a purpose, since a word of a law is never passed in order to then have no effect. Accordingly, the arming of individuals is permitted if it serves the purpose of forming a well regulated militia . This implies that the individual who invokes the right to own and carry weapons must be a member of such a militia.

The militias of that time are the forerunners of what is now the United States National Guard , and until 1905 these militias were the primary armed forces of the United States. Proponents of firearms regulation maintain that the Second Amendment only gives "organized militias" the right to carry weapons. In this sense, for example, the army and the police can be viewed as the “legal successors” of the militias, since they are the only ones who have obvious similarities with the well regulated militia [s] . However, today's police officers and most soldiers in the United States are permanent employees of the government; they cannot therefore be compared with militias or national guardsmen. Another ambiguity is the fact that actually every 18- to 45-year-old citizen of the USA can be called up for military service - that is, the militias “still exist”.

In the judgment text of District of Columbia v. Heller (see below) the Supreme Court interpreted the term "well-regulated" as follows:

"The adjective well regulated implies nothing more than the obligation to have appropriate discipline and training."

Whether this “discipline” and “training” is limited to the duties of a gun owner is a matter of dispute. "Well regulated" is an archaic term for "trained" and "disciplined", but in Federalist No. 29 , the founding father Alexander Hamilton understands "well regulated" to mean training in a military unit:

“Adequate mastery of military maneuvers is a matter that takes time and practice. Not a day is enough to achieve this, and not even a week. "

Hamilton also writes that such a training can hardly be expected of the general population because of the effort and the resulting economic damage. It should be noted that especially many recreational militias in the USA, in which interested people - mostly advocates of the free possession of firearms - learn firearms use and survival , hardly have stable leadership and orderly training programs.

In accordance with the a well regulated militia clause , the right to own and carry weapons can be made dependent on military training or on a division into an army unit. But if one understands “militia” to mean the entirety of the population capable of military service, these conditions are of course invalid.

... the right of the people ...

The advocates of a liberal firearms policy refer to the second part, where obviously the "people" are given the right to bear arms. This right should not be restricted. However, these groups tend to overlook the fact that at that time every adult, physically capable male citizen was a member of the militia, so that the terms militia and people in the historical context of the Second Amendment may be regarded as synonymous. For this reason, it can be presumed that, for the sake of simplicity, the authors of the American Constitution did not commit themselves to a distinction.

Gun owners also explain that the other articles of the Bill of Rights would describe only individual rights, ie rights that are perceived by individuals (such as freedom of speech or the right to refuse to provide testimony), and that these rights also as a right of the people referred will. It would therefore be only logical that the Second Amendment is no exception, according to which the right to carry arms would be granted not only to militia associations, but also to individuals regardless of membership in such an organization.

In the case of United States v. Verdugo-Urquirdez (1990) the Supreme Court ruled that the term the people includes both citizens of the United States and foreign nationals who are legally resident in the country. However, in this case it was about the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment . Opponents of a restrictive interpretation claim, however, that this is clear evidence that the Second Amendment describes an individual right.

... to keep and bear arms ...

Even with the words to keep and bear arms (literally: “owning and carrying weapons”) there are problems with their interpretation. One interpretation sees this as the right of the civilian population to have weapons for defense. The opposite opinion is that the word "arms" itself describes the equipment of an army.

In the judgment of the United States v. Emerson (2001) wrote the judges of the US Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit:

“There are numerous occurrences of the term 'bear arms' in connection with the carrying of arms by civilians. Early constitutions or declarations in at least ten states speak of the right of “people”, “citizen” or “citizens” to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state. in such or similar words. This conclusively reflects that the common use of the words 'bear arms' was in no way limited to carrying weapons in military service. "

Garry Wills, a writer and history professor at Northwestern University , saw the words "bear arms" clearly refer to the military. He wrote about the origin of the term "bear arms":

“The Latin term 'arma ferre' has penetrated deeply into the European, war-related language through legislative and other channels. 'Bearing arms' is a synonym for warfare, so Shakespeare called a 'just war' 'justborne arms' and a civil war 'self-borne arms' [“ self-carried weapons ”]. Even outside of the term 'bear arms', the use of the word often reflects its Latin origins: 'Sub armis' for 'to be under arms', 'arma capere' for 'to take arms' '( "take up arms"; mobilization ), or' arma ponere 'for' to lay down arms' ( "lay down their arms"; surrender ). 'Arms' is a profession as one chooses the “law” or the “church”. [...] Nobody is 'under arms' against a rabbit. "

Since the term “arms” and especially “bear arms” is so closely linked to military use, one can assume that the passage the right of the people to keep and bear arms means that the people may own an army or theirs Have equipment ready.

Meaning of arms ( "weapons")

In the parlance and temporal context of the late 18th century, the term referred arms ( "weapons") on flintlock rifles einschüssige, guns , swords , bayonets and guns and similar guns. These are all the weapons that existed at the time. Proponents of restrictive legislation therefore claim that the intention of the Second Amendment relates only to possession of these weapons and that the possession of other weapons, especially more modern developments, is not protected. As a result, all actors, civil as well as military, would be limited to the exclusive possession and carrying of precisely these weapons. On the other hand, with a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment that is not related to the temporal context, the possession of firearms such as z. B. automatic rifles, but also grenade and rocket launchers , explosives and any weapons of mass destruction such as atomic bombs and poison gas, not only for members of the military, but also for private individuals.

Critics of the argument, which focuses on the use of language in a historical context, argue that, following this logic, the First Amendment would only protect freedom of the press and freedom of expression when using letterpress and horse-drawn carriages . The free use of more recent developments such as radio , television and the Internet would then not be guaranteed by the First Amendment , analogous to the argumentation described above . The Supreme Court adopted this line of reasoning in DC v. Heller accepted and rejected the argument that only historical weapons were protected as "bordering on the foolish" ("bordering on the frivolous").

Meaning of the verb to infringe

The Webster's Dictionary of 1828 it can be seen that the verb to infringe a "total, complete abolition of a law" means, but not a "restriction" or "reduction" of a right. The latter meaning, however, corresponds to today's usage. Here, too, the conflict with regard to the interpretation with regard to the scope of the Second Amendment becomes apparent : If interpreted in a historical context and understood the language, the state would not be allowed to prohibit the possession and the carrying of weapons , while restrictions would be permissible. As the term is used today , however, the state is prohibited from restricting gun ownership .

Historical context according to the Supreme Court

In the late 18th century, the Second Amendment guaranteed militia ownership of weapons. Every male citizen of the United States was such a national. Since the weapons were cared for and stored by the individual militiaman, according to the grounds of the United States v. Miller (1939) - a law necessary that guarantees the militia member the possession of his personal weapon. The loss of the weapon was associated with the exclusion from the militia, which subsequently led to a loss of prestige for the soldier. In addition, the entire American army at that time consisted entirely of militiamen. The armament of the armed forces was to be ensured in this way.

This contrasts with the arguments of the same court in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Brighter. In its decision written by Judge Antonin Scalia , the court referred extensively to historical positions from the time of the constitution and came to the conclusion that the texts of the time were based on an individual right to carry weapons, especially for the purpose of self-defense.

This view is hotly debated in the specialist literature. In particular, comments show that historical texts were interpreted differently at different times. Accordingly, it was only since the 1960s that the texts were understood to a significant extent in such a way that they contain an individual right to own weapons for self-defense.

Important judgments related to the Second Amendment

United States v. Cruikshank (1875)

In April 1873, during a hard-fought gubernatorial election in the US state of Louisiana, the Ku Klux Klan racist group White League killed over 100 blacks. Following this Colfax massacre - named after the village of Colfax where it took place - leader Cruikshank and other ringleaders were convicted of violating the Enforcement Act of 1870. This law makes acts that prevent the exercise of fundamental rights a crime.

Specifically, Cruikshank and his co-conspirators were charged with 32 violations, including denying the blacks' right to own weapons. The Supreme Court found that the Second Amendment only restricted the powers of Congress to restrict the carrying of guns, not that of individuals like Cruikshank. Therefore, the state of Louisiana could not be compelled to enforce the right to bear arms . By means of the Enforcement Act as a law of the federal government, the thwarting of fundamental rights by the Ku Klux Klan could not be punished. Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to bear arms existed before the constitution and was therefore independent of the constitution with regard to its existence.

Presser v. Illinois (1886)

In this case, the Supreme Court reiterated the position in the Cruikshank case - namely that the Second Amendment on its own only prevents the federal government from restricting gun ownership, but not the states. It did, however, cite an argument that was independent of the Second Amendment against the restriction of gun ownership by state laws:

“[...] Even if the constitutional guarantee on this point is not considered, states cannot prevent the people from possessing and carrying weapons, because this is the United States' ability to maintain public safety and the ability of people [in turn, the people would] to fulfill their obligations to the government, restrict. [...] "

In this case from 1886, one has to be aware that there were still militias back then. These were used by the governor in an emergency to restore public order in the state in question if the regular police forces were overwhelmed. Service in the militia can be understood as fulfilling a duty to the government.

United States v. Miller (1939)

Until the District of Columbia v. Heller (2008, see below) the Second Amendment was used - as the main argumentation - in a single court case, namely in United States v. Miller (1939). Two men, Jack Miller and Frank Layton, were suspected of bank robbery and were followed by police. They were arrested while crossing the border between two US states with an unregistered short-barreled shotgun.

They violated the National Firearms Act of 1934, which was passed after the Valentine's Day massacre . The law required the registration of certain types of firearms and a fee of US $ 200, which was due when the weapon was registered and sold. The $ 200 was seen as a prohibitive measure because a typical firearm cost less than $ 10 at the time.

Miller saw the National Firearms Act as a measure that directly contradicted the Second Amendment because it prevented the possession of firearms. In the first instance proceedings, Miller was right because the Second Amendment allowed him to own weapons. The then Attorney General of the United States appealed to the Supreme Court and noted, among other things, the following points:

  • The Second Amendment protects only the possession of military weapons , which for use in an organized militia are suitable
  • and the "12-caliber Stevens double-barreled shotgun, with a barrel length of less than 18 inches , with identification number 76230" was never used in any militia organization.

The Supreme Court overturned the first instance judgment and stated that the National Firearms Act did not conflict with the Second Amendment . According to the Supreme Court, only possession of military weapons is protected by the constitution and the Jack Miller shotgun is not part of regular military equipment and cannot be used for "general defense" purposes.

Judge McReynolds' majority opinion of the court (see web links) contains a lot of interesting information about the historical context of the Second Amendment .

District of Columbia v. Lighter (2008)

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court pronounced its judgment in the District of Columbia v. Brighter . For the first time, the Supreme Court dealt with the question of whether the right to carry or possess weapons was an individual right of the citizen, or whether it merely guaranteed the possession of weapons by members of state-organized militias.

In this particular case, Dick Heller, a privately employed security professional from Washington DC, wanted to keep his pistol at home. He asked for permission to do so, but was turned down under the Firearms Control Regulations Act (1975). Robert A. Levy, a member of the Libertarian Cato Institute , began looking for an example in 2002 to bring down the Firearms Control Regulations Act by a judge's verdict and found Dick Heller. Levy financed the lawsuits from his private assets.

The decision grants the citizen the right to own weapons and restricts state restrictions. The verdict is controversial - it was passed with 5 against 4 votes - and about 150 pages long, including the minority statement.

Quote from Judge Antonin Scalia :

"In sum, we hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

“In summary, we consider the district's [here: District of Columbia ] prohibition on the possession of handguns in the home to be in contradiction to the second amendment to the constitution; also the ban on keeping every legally permitted firearm ready for immediate self-defense at home. "

The Firearms Control Regulations Act prohibits individuals from owning firearms at home. The only exceptions are service weapons of former and active (police) officers as well as firearms that were registered before 1975 - and these had to either be dismantled or equipped with a trigger lock. In the opinion of the Supreme Court , however, the possession of a weapon that is immediately ready for use and is used for a private person's self-defense is expressly permitted by the Second Amendment . The court based the decision on four basic assumptions:

  • The phrase "the people" expressly means the people of the United States because the constitution is a document which is expressly addressed to and understood by the people.
  • "Militia" describes the totality of all men who are physically able to defend themselves together - therefore there is no fundamental contradiction to the term "people".
  • Historical material supports the new decision because analogous regulations already existed in the constitutions of the individual states and before the Second Amendment .
  • None of the three previous decisions ( United States v. Cruikshank 1875, Presser v. Illinois 1886, United States v. Miller 1939) anticipated the current judgment.

The separate opinions of Judges John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer attack this argument from two sides. Stevens assumes that the mention of "militia" in the Second Amendment has a purpose. The right to own and carry weapons is only granted for military and not for civilian purposes. Stevens bases his argument on the following points:

  • The wording, history and historical context show that the Constitutional Fathers were concerned with counteracting the threat to national sovereignty from a standing army of the federal government (see Article 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights ).
  • With the rulings of the Supreme Court in the United States v. Cruikshank , Presser v. Illinois and United States v. Miller had set precedents according to which the possession of weapons can be regulated by the state and the Second Amendment only protects the possession of weapons for military purposes.

Breyer argues that assuming the Second Amendment also protects gun ownership for private purposes, Washington, DC law as a measure to combat violent crime as a proportionate limitation of the Second Amendment is not unconstitutional. For various reasons, the possession and carrying of weapons was already strictly regulated in larger cities during the colonial era . Restrictions of the Second Amendment in the interests of public safety must therefore be permissible.

Immediately after its announcement, lawsuits were filed against states, districts and municipalities in which guns were banned; one of the first lawsuits is McDonald v. Chicago . How the legal situation will develop will only become apparent years after the higher court views and requirements have been implemented in the lower courts. The defendant, the District of Columbia , changed its gun laws in the Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 as a result of the judgment . It introduced mandatory registration for all firearms and prohibited possession of all semi-automatic weapons that are loaded from below through a magazine because of their proximity to automatic weapons. In addition, the sale of weapons was severely restricted by means of commercial law. In July 2014, a federal court lifted the general ban on concealed handguns in the DC as being incompatible with the 2nd Amendment. As a result, the District of Columbia introduced a licensing process for carrying handguns.

McDonald v. Chicago (2010)

The city of Chicago issued a 1982 ordinance restricting the possession of handguns to those licensed by the city. At the same time, the granting of this license was prohibited for almost all types of weapons, including rifles and shotguns. As a resident of the city, Otis McDonald sued this ordinance unsuccessfully in the competent federal district court in 2008. McDonald appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit without success. The court justified its decision by stating that the 2nd Amendment, as part of the federal constitution, only binds the federal government, but not the individual states or individual municipalities. Therefore, the Chicago city ordinance could not be unconstitutional. McDonald appealed this decision to the United States Supreme Court.

In its decision published on June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Similar to the other amendments to the Bill of Rights , the second article applies to states and their subordinate, politically self-governing administrative units . This is based on the provisions of the later adopted 14th Amendment , which guaranteed all people in the United States the same rights. The prerequisite for this, in the view of the Court, is that a law is “fundamental” or “deeply rooted in the history and traditions of our nation”. This formulation was taken from the case of Duncan v. Louisiana taken in which the applicability of the also for bill of rights belonging to the 6th additional article was found on the states.

With this decision, the Court referred the case back to the lower court for retrial. On September 11, 2013, the city of Chicago decided to allow concealed carry.

See also


  • Gregg Lee Carter (Ed.): Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law . 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara CA 2012, ISBN 978-0-313-38671-8 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).

Web links

Wikisource: Text of the additional article  - sources and full texts
Wikisource: United States Bill of Rights  - Sources and full texts (English)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ David E. Young: The Founders' View of the Right to Bear Arms . S. 222 .
  2. ^ Annals of Congress. 1st Congress, 1st Session. Page 451. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=227
  3. ^ Journal of the Senate of the United States of America. Volume 1, pp. 63-64.
  4. ^ Blackstone's Commentaries Book 1 Ch 1 - "The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject ... is that of having arms for their defense".
  5. 1688 c.2 1 Will. and Mar. Sess. 2 . Statutelaw.gov.uk. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  6. "This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we (the United States Supreme Court) said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 US 542, 553 (1876), “[t] his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed .. ”. Between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, the Stuart Kings Charles II and James II succeeded in using select militias loyal to them to suppress political dissidents, in part by disarming their opponents, See J. Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms 31-53 (1994) (hereinafter Malcolm); L. Schwoerer, The Declaration of Rights, 1689, p. 76 (1981) Under the auspices of the 1671 Game Act, for example, the Catholic James II had ordered general disarmaments of regions home to his Protestant enemies. See Malcolm 103-106. These experiences caused Englishmen to be extremely wary of concentrated military forces run by the state and to be jealous of their arms They accordingly obtained an assurance fro m William and Mary, in the Declaration of Right (which was codified as the English Bill of Rights), that Protestants would never be disarmed: “That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law. " 1 W. & M., c. 2, §7, in 3 Eng. Stat. At Large 441 (1689). This right has long been understood to be the predecessor to our Second Amendment. See E. Dumbauld, The Bill of Rights and What It Means Today 51 (1957); W. Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States of America 122 (1825) (hereinafter Rawle). " From the Opinion of the Court in District of Columbia versus Heller (PDF; 2.69 MB)
  7. ^ Yale Law School Virginia Declaration of Rights
  8. ^ Yale Law School Constitution of Pennsylvania - September 28, 1776
  9. ^ Yale Law School A Declaration of Rights, and the Constitution and Form of Government agreed to by the Delegates of Maryland, in Free and Full Convention Assembled.
  10. ^ Yale Law School Constitution of North Carolina: December 18, 1776
  11. ^ Yale Law School The Constitution of New York: April 20, 1777 .
  12. An Act to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.
  13. An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defense by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.
  14. foundingfathers.info
  15. UNITED STATES v. EMERSON, No. 99-10331., October 16, 2001 - US 5th Circuit. (No longer available online.) FindLaw, October 16, 2001, archived from the original on August 17, 2012 ; accessed on August 15, 2012 .
  16. Wills, Garry (2002). A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government. New York: Simon & Schuster. P. 257.
  17. Reva B. Siegel: Dead or Alive: Originalism as Popular Constitutionalism in Heller (PDF; 1.1 MB). In: Harvard Law Review , Volume 122, Issue 1, pages 191-245
  18. 2007 Term Opinions of the Court: District of Columbia v. Brighter. (PDF 2.8 MB) Supreme Court of the United States , June 26, 2008, p. 64 , accessed on August 15, 2012 .
  19. Washington DC (PDF; 344 kB) handgunlaw.us, as of February 2015
  20. ^ Applying for a Concealed Carry Pistol License. Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia, Oct. 23, 2014
  21. ^ Fran Spielman: City Council approves contradictory gun laws . In: Chicago Sun-Times , September 11, 2013